Six years ago, on April 16th 2011 Jonathan and I committed ourselves to a lifetime together in beautiful uptown Charlotte. It truly was the best day of my life, filled with so much love and joy. A dream wedding where friends and family traveled from all over just to be there. I wasn’t nervous, not even in the slightest, because there was no hesitation for me becoming his wife. We were told, the only day that will top our wedding is the day our first child is born.
Yet if you told me 6 years ago that the birth of our first child would somehow collectively be the best and worst day wrapped into one, I would have never believed you. Because this time last year we were celebrating year 5 of marriage, we had the world at our fingertips and the brightest looking future right ahead of us. 5 years just sounded and seemed like the perfect amount of time of it being “just the two of us”. So being 25 weeks pregnant with our son, preparing for our new life of three, what more could you ask out of life?
5 weeks later, that vow of “for better or worse” was tested to the largest degree I think life could ever throw you. Parents are never supposed to bury their children, it goes the other way around. You shouldn’t be calling funeral homes during the labor of your child. No parent should have the leave the hospital without their child, only to return home to an empty nursery. All the things that should never ever happen, did happen.
It seemed every resource I read about the death of a child, it was followed with statistics on how most marriages don’t survive it. Grief books preparing you on how differently men and women grieve. Stories of couples who were ripped apart by this kind of tragedy. How could you not feel nervous that you might end up like another statistic? Within our 4 full years of marriage, we had built up a strong foundation with each other. But it’s not that much time in the grand scheme of things and our biggest challenge to date was managing our finances. However I don’t think even 30 years of marriage could ever prepare you for this kind of loss, hurt and devastation.
From the moment the world’s worst words were uttered to us in that shitty hospital in Georgia, Jon did not let go of my hand for those torturous 3 1/2 hours driving back home. In that moment I knew I would never have to question his love or loyalty to me. I have chosen to feel every ounce of this loss, I wear my emotions on my sleeve and I express myself as such. Jon has also chosen to feel every ounce of this loss too, but he has a way of processing it much more internally. Something that was clear, yet hard in the beginning for us to both understand about one another. Although with a simple exercise of asking each other what the challenges and triumphs were each day in life without our son, we quickly began to see each other’s perspectives. So rather than meeting these discoveries with judgement or frustration, came knowledge and understanding.
When I tell you that I would not be typing these words right now without Jonathan, it is not an exaggeration. Suicide felt like my only option for quite some time. Of course the obvious response would be: “But Kelley you have an amazing husband, supportive parents and wonderful friends … why can’t you see that’s not the answer?” But when I tell you that the pain was that intense, that is the only answer to take that amount of pain away. It doesn’t matter how many people love you, your pain is so great that breathing alone feels no longer possible. I wanted to be with my son and the root of my suffering was my missing and longing for him. Then I reflected on what life would be like without Jonathan and that amount of pain felt equal. So I told myself I could never put Jonathan through that level of added pain. In addition, I never wanted my parents to experience what we were experiencing.
So when I say this man is my reason for living, he 100% is. When I say I couldn’t have survived these past 11 months without him, it’s true. When I tell you he the is the mold of what a partner should be, it’s the truth too. Everyday I don’t feel worthy enough to receive the kind of love and support he gives me. I’ve been the basket case, panic attacked, anxiety ridden, resident crazy lady … and he has been there to pick up every piece of me. Literally, he has pulled me off our nursery floor and has held me tight on the nights where I have to cry myself to sleep. So when people try to tell me I’m strong, no that superlative belongs to Jon. I can’t even begin to sum up my gratitude of what it means that I get to call him my husband. I have these moments where I think, “What if we never met that one night out?” … and I start to panic, because I don’t want to begin to imagine a life without Jonathan Hurtt.
Year 5 put us through turmoil, it tested every facet of our life, leaving us with more questions than answers. But we never questioned our love, our commitment, or our marriage. Our love will forever be our answer to everything. Here’s to year 6, knowing we survived and will continue to survive each and everyday no matter the pain.
“They say true love’s the greatest weapon to win the war caused by pain.” – Beyonce